Air Force honors six new inductees at Schriever Wall of Honor Ceremony

  • Published
  • By Rodney Crum

Six Air Force and civilian pioneers were honored during a ceremony at Los Angeles Air Force Base, May 16. Their newly inscribed names were unveiled on a wall of polished black granite at the General Bernard A. Schriever Memorial, located on the grounds of the Space and Missile Systems Center.

Hosted by Lt. Gen. John F. Thompson, SMC commander and retired Maj. Gen. Thomas Taverney, former AFSPC vice commander attending. More than 250 attendees including family members and civic leaders from the surrounding South Bay beach cities honored the six inductees: Minoru S. Araki, retired Col. Larry C. Jackson, retired Col. Francis X. Kane, Dr. Bradford W. Parkinson, retired Gen. Bernard P. Randolph and  Rita C. Sagalyn.

In his remarks, Lt. Gen. Thompson said, “All of us are here today to pay homage to the six American heroes that we will unveil on the wall here later. All of them have made profound contributions in the development of our Space and Missile Systems.”

In November of 2007, the Space and Missile Systems Center dedicated the statue and wall as the General Schriever Memorial. The first six names were engraved on the wall in 2014, when SMC celebrated its 60th Anniversary.

The Schriever Wall of Honor is intended to honor individuals who made major contributions to the beginning, growth, and evolution of National Security Space and/or Missile Programs, while assigned to or closely connected with SMC and/or its organizational predecessors.

“We honor each and every one of our inductees today with their names etched in granite, symbolizing the lasting power of their legacies and as a foundation on which we build our military space capabilities,” said Thompson.

Coming from various backgrounds and fields of expertise, the six latest inductees share a common heritage representing early Air Force space and missile development:

* Minoru Araki earned B.S. and M.S. Degrees in Mechanical Engineering from Stanford University in 1954 and 1955. Following graduation he began a long and distinguished career with the Lockheed Missiles & Space Company in 1958. Mr. Araki worked as a system engineer to design the first three-axis stabilized platform and the Agena upper stage used with Atlas, Thor and Titan Launch Vehicles. He served as Vice President and Program Manager of the MILSTAR Program, the first global secure Digital Communication Satellite System. As Executive Vice President of Lockheed, Mr. Araki influenced other programs, including Iridium, Exo-atmospheric reentry vehicle interceptor, and terminal high-altitude area defense. Mr. Araki was the first President of Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space following a merger with Martin Marietta. He retired from Lockheed Martin after 38 years in 1997. He was named a Pioneer of National Reconnaissance by the National Reconnaissance Office in 2004.

*  Col. Larry Jackson earned a B.S. in Electrical Engineering from the Tuskegee Institute in 1963. As a distinguished graduate of the school’s ROTC program, received a commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force. Following an assignment to manage Minuteman I, II and III Inertial Guidance Systems at the Aerospace Guidance and Metrology Center at Newark Air Force Station, he returned to Los Angeles Air Force Station in 1972 to work for the Secretary of the Air Force Special Projects (SAFSP). After a tour with Air Force inspection and Safety Center, Colonel Jackson briefly returned to SAFSP before spearheading a successful anomaly investigation to resolve inertial upper stage Geosynchronous Orbit Booster design and manufacturing flaws. He served as Director of the Space segment for the MILSTAR Joint Program Office at Space Systems Division from 1987 to 1991. In that role he managed the design, production, and testing of the first MILSTAR Satellite. Col. Jackson retired from active-duty in 1991 and entered the private sector with Hughes Space and Communications. He remained with Hughes until 2009 and passed away in 2011.

*  Col. Frances Kane graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1943 with a B.S. in Engineering. After entering military service during World War II, he served as a flight instructor for multi-national pilot trainees. Following the war, Colonel Kane was assigned as an air attaché to the U.S. Embassy in Paris. After his tour in France, Colonel Kane helped develop policy and planning for NASCENT U.S. Space Program. This work included advancing concepts such as Space-based Missile Warning, Space-based Missile Defense, Manned Maneuvering Reentry Vehicles, Detection and Attack of Mobile Missiles, Laser Anti-Satellite Weapons, the Advanced Ballistic Missile and a Navigation Satellite System. Col. Kane assumed a leading role in project forecast from 1963 to 1964, which sought to anticipate the Air Force’s Air, Missile and Space requirements. He joined President Nixon’s Space Task Group in 1969 to develop concepts for the Space Shuttle. Col. Kane was a Fellow of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA) and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). He was inducted into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneer Hall of fame in 2010. He passed away in 2013.

*  Dr. Bradford “Brad” Parkinson entered the U.S. Air Force in 1957 after earning a B.S. in general Engineering from the U.S. Naval Academy. He subsequently received an M.S. in Aeronautics and Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1961 and a Aeronautics and Astronautics from Stanford University in 1966. He joined the Space and Missile Systems Organization (SAMSO) in 1972. Col. Parkinson oversaw the Navigation Satellite Program as it evolved into the NAVSTAR Global Positioning System (GPS). He served as the first Director of the GPS Joint Program Office and as Launch Commander for the first GPS Satellite Launches. He received the Defense Department Superior Performance Award as the best Program Director in the Air Force for 1977. Following his retirement from Active-Duty in 1978, Dr. Parkinson distinguished himself in both academia and industry. He is a member of the NASA Hall of Fame and the National Inventors Hall of Fame. Dr. Parkinson was inducted into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneer Hall of Fame in 2009.

*  Gen. Bernard Randolph received a B.S. in Chemistry from Xavier University in 1954. He joined the Air Force following graduation and continued his educational pursuits in uniform. Gen. Randolph joined Space Systems Division at Los Angeles Air Force Station as Chief, On-orbit operations in 1965. He subsequently served as the Assistant Deputy Program Director for Launch and Orbital Operations. Gen. Randolph returned to Los Angeles after attending the Air War College and served as the Director, Space Systems Planning, for Space and Missile Systems Organization (SAMSO). In March 1978, he assumed responsibility for Space Defense Systems and oversaw efforts to design and develop U.S. Anti-Satellite Systems. Throughout his career, Gen. Randolph served in many key leadership positions across the Space Community in the U.S. Air Force. He served as Commander, Air Force Systems Command, prior to his retirement from active-duty in 1990.

*  Rita Sagalyn received a B.S. Degree from the University of Michigan and an M.A. Degree from Harvard University in 1950. As an Air Force scientist, Ms. Sagalyn conducted groundbreaking research on the electrical properties of the Earth’s lower atmosphere. She was involved in the development of instrumentation to study the electrical state of the upper atmosphere using rockets and the investigation of space dynamics using satellites.

Ms. Sagalyn developed an Ion-Altitude Sensor for measuring spacecraft pitch and yaw tested during the Gemini program. She also initiated and managed numerous other programs, including designing instruments on DMSP Satellites. Ms. Sagalyn joined the Senior Executive Service in 1981 at AFRL. She subsequently served as senior scientist for the AFRL Space Vehicles Directorate prior to retiring from government service in 1998. She became the first woman to be inducted into the Air Force Space and Missile Pioneer Hall of Fame in 2004. 

“Each one of these people touched my life and help shape what I am," said Taverney in his remarks to the attendees. 

With support from industry partners, the Air Force Association's Schriever chapter sponsored and commissioned a statue of General Schriever, architect of the Air Force's ballistic missile and military space program. Since 2014, pioneers are chosen each year to have their names added to the Schriever Wall of Honor.